Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Breadcrumbs and Capers

First of all, I didn't make this with capers. Anything that's delicious with capers is even more delicious without them, so I skipped them entirely.

cauliflower

I mostly followed the recipe but I did sprinkle some paprika and garlic powder onto the cauliflower as well. This was a good idea flavor-wise, but burned the hell out of my casserole dish. It's ok! It was worth it. I didn't bake it for the full hour and a half - it was ready after about 50 minutes. There's a tip at the end about adding some mustard and maple syrup, but I didn't do that. I have half the cauliflower as leftovers so I might try adding it when I reheat it to see what happens. As it is, this was lovely. I had it with some garlic couscous and had a thoroughly enjoyable dinner. Roasting a whole cauliflower is a great idea! I will try some other recipes for roasting cauliflower in the near future.

cauliflower

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Breadcrumbs and Capers
Dig Inn

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup capers, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Heat skillet on medium heat, add oil and then bread crumbs.

With a wooden spoon brown breadcrumbs to a light-brown color.

Add capers and parsley.

Transfer breadcrumbs to a kitchen paper towel lined plate รข€“ this will absorb the excess fat.

Preheat the oven at 450°F.

With a small prep knife, cut the leaves off the cauliflower head.

In a bowl season cauliflower with salt, pepper and thyme leaves and then transfer into an oven-proof dish such as a French oven or casserole pot, cover with a lid.

Cook cauliflower for 1 hour 20 minutes then remove the lid. Continue to cook for 10 minutes. Cauliflower should have a brown roasted look and soft texture in the middle when pierced with a small knife. If not cook for 10 more minutes.

Sprinkle roasted cauliflower with the breadcrumb mixture.

Mix 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard and 1 tablespoon maple syrup and pour over the cauliflower for an extra tasty version of the whole roasted cauliflower recipe.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies

I thought these were going to be like the iced oatmeal cookies you can buy at the grocery store, because those are tasty. AND THIS RECIPE IS SO MUCH BETTER. Mostly tastes the same, but less processed, and definitely much softer.

I watered down the icing a little too much so it wasn't as lovely white as it should have been and instead was just shiny. BUT SO GOOD. I also made the cookies smaller than the recipe recommends and then baked them on the low end of the baking time. Perfect.

Seriously, these are really, really good. Make them asap.

cookies

Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies
Saving Dessert

FOR THE COOKIES:
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

FOR THE ICING:
3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
2 tablespoons warm water
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

Add the rolled oats to a food processor and pulse 10 times. Don't over process because you want a variety of textures not just a ground oat flour. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk or stir to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter on medium-high about 30 seconds. Add the brown and granulated sugars and mix on medium-high until the batter lightens and becomes fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yolk disappears into the batter. Lightly beat in the vanilla. Add about 1/3 of the oat and flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture, mixing on a low speed just until blended. Continue adding the flour mixture until it is fully incorporated.

Using a 2 tablespoon size ice cream or cookie scoop (not heaping - leveled straight across the top of the scoop), roll the dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. I was able to fit 6 cookies at a time on each pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms just being to brown. Do not over bake.

Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies rest for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

To prepare the icing combine the confectioners' sugar with the milk or cream and water. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the icing is somewhat thick. Place the icing in a shallow dish or container, about 4x4 inches. Quickly dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the icing and let the excess drip off. Set the dipped cookie on the rack until the icing has set.

Store the cookies in an airtight container or refrigerator.

Yield: I got about 4 dozen cookies from this recipe, making them smaller than called for

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Kale Salad with Tandoori Roasted Chickpeas

I've been making more of an effort to eat "clean" (not in a crazy way - I do not have that kind of motivation), make good food choices, do some meal-prep, stick to portion sizes, etc, but this was a bad week filled with taco dip and Super Bowl goodies. Last night I made this super easy salad with roasted chickpeas. I was a little bit nervous about the dressing, because I've made a lot of similar dressings that were way too sweet. I used the honey instead of maple syrup, which I think helped prevent it from being too sweet.

The salad is delicious, the dressing is delicious, the chickpeas are delicious. I wish I'd done a better job drying the chickpeas after rinsing them, because I felt like they didn't crisp up as much as they should have. So, if you make this, be sure to dry them off well before you season them. I definitely plan to keep this recipe around to make again.

kale

Kale Salad with Tandoori Roasted Chickpeas
Minimalist Baker

Tandoori Spice Blend
3 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp paprika
3 tsp ginger
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cardamom

Salad and Chickpeas
10 ounces kale (~6 cups) loosely chopped or torn
1 can chickpeas (15 ounce) rinsed, drained and thoroughly dried
1 1/2 Tbsp olive, avocado or grape seed, oil
2 1/2 Tbsp tandoori masala spice blend (DO NOT USE THE WHOLE AMOUNT OF SPICE BLEND YOU MADE - note the measurement here!)
1 head garlic
1/4 cup tahini
2 Tbsp olive oil + more for roasting garlic
2 lemons, juiced (~1/3 cup)
1 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
1 Pinch salt + pepper
Hot water to thin

Peel apart garlic cloves but leave the skin on. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add drained chickpeas to a mixing bowl and toss with oil and seasonings.

Add garlic cloves and seasoned chickpeas to a baking sheet. Drizzle garlic with a bit of olive or grape seed oil. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until the chickpeas are slightly crispy and golden brown and the garlic is fragrant and slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

Squeeze garlic out of skins / peel away skins and add to a mixing bowl. Add all remaining dressing ingredients and whisk vigorously to combine, smashing the garlic with the whisk. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired, adding more lemon for brightness and maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.

Add kale to a large mixing bowl. Before adding dressing, add 1 Tbsp each lemon juice and olive oil to the kale and massage with hands to soften the texture and lessen bitterness. Then add as much dressing as desired (some may be leftover) and mix with a spoon.

Top with chickpeas and serve. Best when fresh, though leftovers keep in the fridge for up to a few days.

Serves: 2-3

Monday, February 08, 2016

Soft & Chewy Red Velvet Cookies

Valentine's Day is next Sunday so I decided to go with that as my theme for this week's Cookie Monday. I have a bunch of boxed cake mixes that my coworkers gave me, including a red velvet mix, so I took to Pinterest to find a good cake-mix-cookie recipe. I didn't want to use the basic cake mix recipe - I wanted something better. This recipe is great because it incorporates the cake mix but adds it into a slightly more complicated cookie recipe. Plus! It's a soft-batch cookie! And those are my favorite.

The cake mix wasn't red enough once it was mixed so I did have to add some extra red food coloring. The cookies were great and I think people liked them a lot. I have a few left over so I'm going to add some ice cream and make some little sandwiches. Yes!

cookies

Soft & Chewy Red Velvet Cookies
The Domestic Rebel

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 & 1/4 cups red velvet cake mix (the dry mix)
1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 & 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, divided

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar with the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes, or until creamy and smooth. Beat in the egg and the vanilla to combine. Last, add in the red velvet cake mix, flour, and baking soda until a soft dough has formed. Stir in ONE cup of the white chocolate chips.

Chill the mixture in the fridge for AT LEAST two hours, or overnight if possible. Chilling is MANDATORY as it prevents the cookies from spreading into thin, globby saucers during baking.

Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or spray them lightly with cooking spray. Drop rounded Tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto each cookie sheet, keeping about 2" apart from one another. Bake for approx. 9-11 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even cooking. Cookies may appear slightly undone but do NOT overbake as they will continue to set up as they cool.

Place a couple more white chocolate chips onto the tops of the freshly-baked cookies for an extra bit of sweetness or to make them prettier, if you'd like. Allow them to cool on the pans before serving.

Yield: I got about 4 dozen

Quick-Pickled Cauliflower and Swiss on Rye

I'm not sure what drew me to this sandwich. I think I just had all the ingredients available. You also know by now that I like weird grilled-cheese sandwiches. And this definitely is weird. I'm not sure why it's called "quick-pickled" because you are not pickling it at all, just kind of soaking it in a liquid. It calls for sparkling apple cider but I used apple cider vinegar instead - partially because that's what I had available, and partially because that at least makes it more of a pickle. Except it didn't. What I ended up with was mostly just cauliflower coated in honey-mustard.

Anyway, beyond that, this sandwich was also not as grilled-cheesy as I wanted. I had to take a photo of it in the pan because every time I flipped it or lifted it, it fell apart. The cauliflower coating makes the bread really soggy, really quickly. I have no idea how this could be avoided. And! The cheese doesn't bind it together very well. So I'd flip it but nothing would be stuck together and the bread would break apart.

The redemption here is that the sandwich was pretty good. The apple and mustard and caraway and rye go really well together. It was hard to eat since it kept falling apart, so I wouldn't make it again. But I do feel like you need to know that at least it was delicious.

cheese

Quick-Pickled Cauliflower and Swiss on Rye
Vegetarian Times, Jan/Feb 2016

1/4 cup sparkling apple cider
3 Tbs. finely chopped chives
2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. ground caraway
1/2 lb. cauliflower florets, cut in 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (1 cup)
4 oz. shredded Swiss cheese (1 cup)
8 slices dark or marbled rye bread
2 Tbs. butter, melted

Whisk together cider, chives, mustard, honey, and caraway in medium bowl. Add cauliflower and apple, and stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature 10 minutes.

Stir in shredded cheese.

Preheat panini or sandwich press to medium heat.

Scoop heaping 3/4 cup cauliflower mixture onto each of 4 bread slices. Top each with another bread slice, and gently press down.

Brush both sides of panini press each with 1/2 Tbs. melted butter. Press 2 sandwiches 3 to 5 minutes, or until bread is browned and crisp on outside, and filling is heated through. Repeat with remaining 2 sandwiches.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies (Now With Dinosaurs)

It is a known fact that I like dinosaurs. I am a 31 year old with the whimsical interests of a 7 year old - dinosaurs, narwhals, unicorns. I'm kind of lame.

But my friends appreciate my lameness, and for Christmas my workwife Janet bought me this rolling pin, embossed with dinosaur print. After rolling out cookie dough, I can roll over it with this and print the entire dough with little dinosaurs. SO COOL. So then I had to find a recipe to use it.

Because I'm still getting the hang of it and not very good at rolling out dough (I'm too short so I don't have as much leverage to apply pressure), I picked a chocolate dough. This allowed me to make jokes about people pretending they are searching the mud for dinosaur tracks. Most of them turned out pretty good! And the chocolate cookie dough was yummy. Not too sweet. I will strongly compare it to the crust of a chocolate poptart (which I happen to love). I would definitely make this cookie dough again, and I will try the dinosaurs again in the near future with a different recipe.

dinosaur

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies
Smitten Kitchen

3 cups all-purpose flour (375 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt (3 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup lightly salted butter (225 grams) softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 ml)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don't overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.) Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed .

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Yield: I used a 2" round cookie cutter and ended up with about 40 cookies.